Archive for June, 2011
30th June 11
Posted in Participation
Labs were lucky enough to be invited back to Power to the Pixel’s Pixel Lab held at Schwielowsee this week. The attendees – writers, filmmakers and producers among them – spent most of the week intensively workshopping their cross-media projects, punctuated by tutorials and talks from external experts.
Raising money in a still nascent format is always going to be challenging, so Pixel Lab participants were keen to know how brands and advertisers viewed transmedia storytelling as a platform and what approaches were likely to lead to successful fundraising.
Using the smart thinking from Metafilter forum user blue_beetle as the starting point I suggested that rather than try and sell a story to a brand, selling the audience might be a more productive approach. This is partly because it’s so noisy out there that a brand needs to work exceptionally hard to cut through with a story and also because increasingly brands see participation (through a variety of mechanics) as a good route to engaging an audience and building brand loyalty.
It wouldn’t be a Labs talk if we didn’t reference Kevin Kelly, and his ‘Six words for the modern internet‘ made for a useful primer on participation and behaviours. Taking each of the behaviours and looking at campaigns that had shone them through a branded lens I asked whether it was possible to extend the idea of audience as product and ask what they paid with for each form of participation.
With each of these costs of participating the audience clearly need to be rewarded and this reward will vary with the depth and type of participation. The reward might be a story or another form of transmedia experience but there are other rewards for participation and access and engagement might sometimes be reward enough.
The full presentation is below – let us know what you think in the comments.
29th June 11
Author: Jim Carroll, Chairman, BBH London
‘Is that all there is, is that all there is?
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing.
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is.’
I remember the first time I heard Peggy Lee singing the classic Leiber and Stoller number, ‘Is That All There Is?’. The heroine relates how, through the course of her life, experiences that may initially have been exciting, had in fact turned out rather tiresome. From her home burning down, to going to the circus, to falling in love. It’s a hymn to disappointment and apathy. Like most teenagers I had spent large chunks of my short time on the planet lying in my room being incredibly bored. In amongst the bubble gum pop and dinosaur rock of Radio 1, a song that celebrated ennui was a rare and precious thing.
I remember the first time I heard the Clash sing ‘I’m So Bored with the USA’. I was simultaneously shocked and excited. Could one really so publicly proclaim disappointment with the home of rock’n'roll, the land of the free, the country that had given us Barry Manilow, Boz Scaggs and The Sound Of Bread? Was that acceptable? Was that legal?
I remember the first time I saw the painting Ennui by Walter Sickert. The bored couple cannot be bothered to look at each other. One stares into space and the other at the wall. The blank generation. Tedium in oils. And yet so utterly compelling.
It’s a curious thing. Apathy, boredom and tedium seem such dull, passive, inert qualities. Yet they can be exciting, inspiring, disruptive.
And I wonder whether this particular truth is lost on us and our world. We claim to be consumer experts. But are we not in denial of the fact that most consumers, most of the time are just not that into our brand or category? They just don’t care. We sustain a myth that the primary communication challenge is lack of attention, when really, more often than not, it’s lack of interest. Read full post
17th June 11
Author: Matthew Kershaw, Content Director, BBH London
I talked here yesterday about a near future in which TV advertising would become fully targetted, completely measurable and highly interactive.
So what are the implications of this prediction for agencies?
16th June 11
Author: Matthew Kershaw (@mattski2000), Content Director, BBH London
There is a frothy bubble of excitement growing around the future of Connected TV.
Just this month, Philips announced that they have 1 million active Net TV users.
And all the major players are piling in: Google are still behind Google TV, YouView are finally preparing to launch with the ultimate boss, Lord Sugar, Virgin have just launched their Tivo service, Sony made a commitment early and even Apple are still just about in the game with their AppleTV device. And then there’s Anthony Rose, the genius behind the BBC iPlayer and ex CTO of YouView, now championing two-screen interaction.
With all this hype and excitement, you’d think that us ad folk would be talking about nothing else, combining as it does ad land’s two big obsessions: the power of television and the interactivity of the internet.
So why are we holding back? Read full post
16th June 11
Posted in Canneshttp://www.vimeo.com/21571373
With Cannes just a few days away it’s time to wish bon chance to all those striving for Lions. We’ll be keeping our eyes on the progress of all the Young Lions and our fingers crossed for the UK representatives in the Cyber category, BBH London’s Diego Oliveira and Caio Gianella, whose Unicef Wrapping Project is shown above.
14th June 11
Posted in Film
Author: Alice Bullimore, Integrated Producer, BBH London
What would happen if you asked everyone in the world to take a video of their life on the same day?
Well, it’s happened. The day was July 24th 2010 and people from 120 countries uploaded over 80,000 videos. Life, in a Day.
The raw footage itself is powerful. As Alexandra Coghlan comments in her great review, “what is perhaps most extraordinary and exciting about this project are its leftovers”, and on the ‘explore’ tab at youtube.com/lifeinaday the guys at Google have made all this footage available for us to filter and view, the many stories untold.
But then there’s the film.
Kevin MacDonald & Ridley Scott at RSA undertook the ambitious curatorial job of creating their story of the world, Joe Walker took on the crazily gargantaun mission of editing.
Over 4500 hours of footage reviewed, complied and cut into a coherent 90 minute film.
The film’s not bad either.
It was well received at Sundance, Berlin and SXSW film festivals, Total Film have given it 4 stars and it currently enjoys a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
But what was it like laying down this challenge?
What if no-one had entered anything?
What if most of the crowd sourced footage was unusable?
With so much footage to go through, how do you choose what story to tell? An individual’s? The world’s? The editors’? Just whose agenda is at work, and what are the implications of a film like this?
Well, we’re privileged to be able to get a bit closer to some of these answers with a preview screening & live Q&A with the editor, Joe Walker, at BBH in London this wednesday 15th June at 5.00pm.
If you would like to ask Will and the team a question of your own, we have a limited number of tickets available for you & a friend to join us.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a free pair of tickets. First come first served.
We look forward to seeing you.
You can also upload questions for Kevin MacDonald and Life in a Day contributors here, by 2pm UK time *today* in advance of the UK premiere. The film is on national release in Vue cinemas on Thursday.
13th June 11
Posted in Participation
Last week kicked off another session of The Barn, BBH NY’s 10-week internship program. The Barn brings in 6 interns, divides them into two teams and has them compete on a 3-word creative brief (last session’s was “Do good, famously” but we can’t tell you this one just yet).
It’s a fantastic program, run by Heidi Hackemer, Dane Larsen and Jordan Kramer. As I work with my new team (I’m the Advisor for Team Moose*), I’m reminded of how such a program broadens our agency’s thinking as much as it does the interns’.
My team last session had a fantastic idea to give 4 homeless men a voice via Twitter as part of a project called Underheard. That experience made me fundamentally rethink the role non-profits play in a world where motivated audiences self-organize and work (a theme we’ve discussed before).
In fact, Underheard showed me the limitations inherent to straight-forward marketing by non-profits. Generally, their missions—and resulting communication—are highly focused. Take, for instance, the mission statements of two of my favorite non-profits here in the US.
Feeding America: “Our mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.”
National Resource Defense Council: “We use law, science and the support of 1.3 million members and online activists to protect the planet’s wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things.”
Both organizations are clear not only in what they want to achieve, but also their means: food banks and legal action, respectively.
This fairly typical behavior makes it clear and easy for me to engage. Their cause is established. If I choose to support any cause, I’ll do so via an organization that uses the means I believe most effective. So of course a non-profit should outline the micro-actions I can take as a concerned citizen to help, right?
I’m no longer convinced that’s the only solution. Underheard (not an organization of any kind, to be explicitly clear) was simply a platform for homeless individuals. It didn’t specifically ask people to donate, nor did it edit what happened (when giving homeless individuals a voice, it should be no surprise some of what we heard fell outside of anything an organization would ever endorse). Nonetheless, people regularly contacted the interns to help the four men in ways they deemed best. At one point, someone in Australia paid for 2 transit tickets Albert (one of the four Tweeters) received. Those tickets totaled $200, beyond any reasonable amount Albert could have gathered on his own. Similarly, Danny was offered help to write his story by someone in Wisconsin. This desire to tell his story was something he brought up a few times including at the very outset of being selected for the project. Neither of these were ever explicit requests. In fact, financial help was offered regularly, but no one ever said they’d like to donate generally. Every financial offering was tied to a specific individual and incident. The offer was never $200. It was to pay for those daunting tickets. The offer wasn’t to fund a book; it was to help write it.
It seems people will determine the appropriate means of contributing if the right system is in place. In this case, the only pieces required were a platform to communicate (pre-paid phones to tweet from) and someone spreading the word. It’s similar to how a free-to-use site like Craigslist can turn commerce upside down via collaborative consumption. Craigslist never set out to extend the life of products or help communities consume more efficiently; it just happened to be the platform on which such consequences transpire.
All of this opened my mind to a new possibility. Could a non-profit exist simply as a platform for those that may need help with no instructions or systems in place to actually help? Sure, a number of organizations already use social media to push their causes and seek help, but they are generally speaking to existing supporters– and they’re outlining what they need. Could an extremely low-cost platform serve solely as scaffolding to let people connect their own solutions to narratives told by people in need?
Currently, people in need use the internet to ask for help all the time, but to a very limited audience. Their best-case scenario is having their need adopted by a cause that will help them. But what about all those people that could decide how to help without an organization outlining how? Is there a scalable solution between being a collection of individuals in need and being a formal organization requiring funds to operate? Could a platform that simply makes voices heard but doesn’t actually have an agenda successfully exist? Perhaps it’s a Craigslist-meets-Kickstarter-meets-Twitter for people to tell stories in a culture that is clearly intended to seek assistance, but in no specified fashion. The possibilities seem pleasantly ambiguous and endless.
Now, that may be the dumbest idea ever. That’s not the point. The point is how much my mind was opened by people with limited resources and experience answering an open-ended brief.
The point is intern inspiration.
I can’t wait to see what this new group of interns does. No matter what they do, I’m sure I’ll be inspired in some way. That’s a fantastic investment for any company to make.
6th June 11
Posted in Events
Author: Agathe Guerrier (@agatheg), Strategist, BBH London & BBH Labs
*Tonight at 9pm GMT* we’re happy to say Kronenbourg 1664 is hosting a live event on the brand’s YouTube channel, as part of its Slow the Pace campaign.
A Q&A with the star of our second commercial in the series, Suggs from Madness, it will be livestreamed from the studios of our partner Absolute Radio. Since Friday, users have been able to submit their questions on the channel via a Google Moderator widget, a tool that was developed a few months ago for YouTube’s own Worldview project (featuring Obama and David Cameron), enabling citizens to quiz world leaders on issues of global governance.
To our knowledge, no brand has ever done this before. So nous croisons les doigts, as we say in France, until 10ish in the UK.
Watch the interview here.
This campaign is an integrated approach to broadcast and the social web that we’re calling “Super Bowl, Super Social” (check out our post last year about Yeo Valley for a detailed case study). Very simply, we know successful brands marry broadcast and participation in ways that add value (utility, entertainment) to people’s lives – the real-time web pushes that a stage further: rewarding brands that provide experiences and content that are bolder, better.
In the meantime, let’s hope Suggs turns up tonight.
3rd June 11
Posted in Books
“Do not go gentle into that good night, but rage against the dying of the light”
~ Dylan Thomas, quoted in Hegarty in Advertising
Sir John’s book, “Hegarty on Advertising”, goes on sale on Monday.
He would be first person to say this is no ‘how-to’ manual, but rather his own story: packed with no holds barred opinion, behind the scenes anecdotes and strongly held principles to work by. There’s no crystal ball gazing, instead a distillation of what he’s learned in 45 years in the business. As such we found it a dose in humility for the here and now: a grip on history that, as ever, sets the future in context.
Despite his protestation this isn’t a manual, several ideas and themes emerge that have a hell of a lot to teach the rest of us: what makes a successful start-up, the humanization of the workplace, how to approach technology and stay abreast of innovation, the role of difference and ‘creative destruction’, the impact of globalization, why ideas matter and more.
We asked him to shed a little more light on some of these themes. In doing so, we thought we’d see if we could put one of his most firmly held views to the test; his belief that “words are a barrier to communication”. We have no idea if this is going to work, but here goes – our first interview response without words.
What do you mean by “creative destruction”?
“Creativity isn’t an occupation, it’s a pre-occupation” – can you explain what you mean by this?
If you started an agency today, what would it be like?
Is there a single piece of work you think defines you?
Where do you look for inspiration?
You say the way creative thinking gets deployed “will always be a continually moving target.. to nail your colours to any particular medium or technology will sow the seeds of your destruction”. So how should we engage with technology?
And, finally, you say you can’t name all the people you’d like to thank, but if there had to be one (okay, perhaps a couple), who would it be?
Sketches are by Sir John Hegarty
For more about the book: www.hegartyonadvertising.com